Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

My copy of Summer of Sci-fi & Fantasy arrived today

My copy of Summer of Sci-fi & Fantasy arrived today, which includes my swords and sorcery fantasy tale The Storyteller of Koss.

 


 



Another Swords and Sorcery story finished: The Dark Priestdom

I seem to be on a bit of a roll with new stories at the moment. I have just completed and proofread a 10,200 word swords and sorcery story called The Dark Priestdom, which as two of its main characters has protagonists I have previously used but never in the same story before.

My swords and sorcery stories so far are:

Baal the Necromancer (published in 2021 in Mythic #17)


The God in the Keep (published in 2021 in Swords and Sorcery Magazine #118)


A Grim God's Revenge (published in 2017 in Mythic #4)


Ossani the Healer and the Beautiful Homunculus

Creatures of the Black Tunnel

The Storyteller of Koss (published in 2022 in Summer of Sci-Fi and Fantasy)


The Carpetmaker of Arana

The Dark Priestdom

Monday, 16 May 2022

Ramsey Campbell: Master of Weird Fiction by S. T. Joshi

A brand new PS Publishing book arrived in the post today direct from the publisher: S. T. Joshi's Ramsey Campbell: Master of Weird Fiction. Over 300 pages. Looking forward to delving into this.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

The Storyteller of Koss published in Summer of Sci-Fi & Fantasy

My swords and sorcery fantasy story The Storyteller of Koss has just been published in Summer of Sci-Fi & Fantasy edited by Dustin Bilyk in the States, though it is also available from amazon uk.

My story follows on from events told in my previously published tale Baal the Necromancer (Mythic #17, 2021). I am in the process of finishing another, quite long story called The Dark Priestdom in which the storyteller is again one of the two main characters. The other protagonist, a mercenary called Welgar, also appeared in a recent story Ossani the Healer & the Beautiful Homunculus, which has yet to be published.  

Just to add to the complications (and perhaps to the confusion!) Ossani the Healer appears towards the end of The Storyteller of Koss

amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Lock-In reprinted in the latest issue of Lovecraftiana magazine

My story Lock-In has just been reprinted in the latest issue of Lovecraftian magazine.

The issue also includes stories and poems by Ngo Binh Anh Koa
Chris McAuley
Matthew Wilson
John M McCormick
Oliver Smith
Sean Ferrier-Watson
Michael Balletti
George Aitch
Ricky Rivers Jr
Phil Breach
Carlton Herzog
Jay Sturner
Simon Bleaken
RC Mulhare
Joseph Farley
Francis Erdman
Maxwell I Gold
Tim J Finn
William Clunie
MS Swift
Matthew David Roe
Ty Conlee
Vincent H O’Neill
EW Farnsworth
Dean Wirth
Brian K Lowe
Jay Hardy
and Moeed Kashif.
 
Plus art by 
Jim Pitts
Dean Wirth
and Karolina Mochniej

 

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Chillercon


I am taking a short break from reading submissions for Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 4 to attend Chillercon in Scarborough on Friday the 27th May, mainly to attend the launch and signing for the Brian Lumley Phantasmagoria Special which will be held at 4.00 p.m. 

 

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Dark Crusade by Karl Edward Wagner - my retro review of this Kane novel

This is my retro review of  Dark Crusade, which was published in the Karl Edward Wagner Phantasmagoria Special

DARK CRUSADE by Karl Edward Wagner

In Dark Crusade we see Karl Edward Wagner’s immortal antihero Kane at his finest – and most evil: honourable by his own idiosyncratic standards, yet capable of carrying out the worst deeds imaginable, heroic yet villainous, courageous yet cruel, indifferent to the suffering of others yet able to reach out and help the most vulnerable on a whim. He is without doubt the most enigmatic character in heroic fantasy.

The novel starts when Orted, the defeated leader of an outlaw band, is on the run after a bungled raid on the city of Ingoldi. Badly wounded, he is fleeing through the labyrinthine alleys of the city when he is offered refuge by a priest of the obscure and unsavoury god Sataki. Though suspicious, Orted is too desperate to quibble. When he follows the priest into his temple, though, he is clubbed senseless and awakens to find himself spread-eagled on a stone altar, about to be sacrificed. Which is when things take an unexpected twist. Perhaps because he is stronger than most of those previously offered by the cult’s priests, instead of being drained of life by Sataki, Orted is filled with some of the god’s spirit. Which is how the outlaw becomes Sataki’s Prophet, a man without a shadow.

The following day, led by Orted, the priests go out into the city to recruit followers at a local market, where most of the crowd are seduced by the demon’s spirit inside Orted and become consumed with hatred for those who refuse their new god. And so begins the Dark Crusade, in which religious fanatics slaughter their enemies, sacking city after city and massacring anyone who fails to follow Sataki.

That is, until this ragtag army meets its first defeat when it comes up against one of the finest armies in the region, whose heavy cavalry turn its advance into a panic-filled rout.

Which is where, ever the opportunist, Kane comes in.

The Immortal Swordsman uses the Prophet’s defeat to offer his skills to him as a general to train the mob into the semblance of a real army, at the same time using Orted’s plundered wealth to hire mercenary cavalrymen who will be loyal to him, not the cult. Kane cynically intends to use what the Prophet has created to carve out an empire before assassinating Orted and taking everything for himself.

Or so he hopes.

As a foil to Kane, we have the general Jarvo, who begins the story as the arrogant leader of the cavalry that defeats Orted’s mob. Already hideously scarred by Kane after he tried to have the swordsman removed as a rival to power when they were members of the same army, he is unexpectedly defeated when he again attacks the Prophet’s army, unaware of the changes Kane has made in the meantime - or the mercenary cavalry Kane has recruited. But Jarvo proves difficult to kill and miraculously, if painfully, begins to recover from the injuries he sustains at the battle. Afterwards he helps to forge a new alliance amongst neighbouring kingdoms to oppose the Crusade.

This is an involved story, with intricately woven power struggles in a barbaric world. Kane treads the chasm between hero and villain superbly well. Though he is thoroughly amoral there is, bizarrely, something almost heroically noble about him. Orted’s possession by the demon Sataki is credibly described, still a man beneath the alterations wrought upon him. And his crusade, though filled with fanatical violence, is credibly disparate, filled with the kinds of greed and opportunism that are all too easily recognisable.

Though set within a fantasy world, this is a book that has whispers of the real world in it – and lessons about the ongoing dangers of religious zealots. It is also incredibly well written and a great read. 


 Phantasmagoria - Karl Edward Wagner Special

 

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Leafing through The Ever More Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts


 

Here is a short video of me leafing through the latest proof copy of The Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts which will be published later this month in hardcover. 

Pre-order copies are available for £25 plus postage and packing. After publication the price will rise to £30.00 plus p&p. 

Since we brought out The Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts in 2017 Jim has been constantly busy, including interior artwork for Elak: King of Atlantis and After Nightfall & Other Weird Tales, covers for Phantasmagoria magazine, and a host of other projects, with new techniques and fresh designs. 

The Ever More Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts will be a fitting sequel to the first volume, published in hardcover and packed with black and white and full-colour illustrations.




 


Friday, 8 April 2022

My story The Psychic Investigator to be published in the Halloween issue of Lovecraftiana magazine

Very pleased to have woken up this morning to find my latest "Lovecraftian" story, The Psychic Investigator, which stands at just over 12,000 words, has been accepted for inclusion in the Halloween issue of Lovecraftiana magazine.

Friday, 1 April 2022

Submissions for Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 4 open today until 31st May


Submissions for Swords & Sorceries Volume 4 open this year from the 1st April until 31st May


Payment is £25 per story regardless of length, plus a contributor's copy. The book will be published as a paperback and ebook. If a hardcover version is published we will pay an additional £25. Contributors can also buy extra copies of the book through us at cost price. 

Please send your submissions as attachments (doc or docx) headed "Submission - Swords & Sorceries 4" to:

paralleluniversepublications@gmx.co.uk


You can send in more than one submission, but we will not accept more than one story per writer.

Although we prefer original stories we are prepared to consider reprints. Please inform us where and when it was previously published. 

You can send in simultaneous submissions, but please let us know at once if your story is accepted elsewhere.

There is no limit on the size of submissions.  

All rejections and acceptances will be sent out by email at the end of the first week in June. Please don't enquire about your submission before then.


And good luck!


In the past we have received a number of stories that may be fantasy but are not swords and sorcery. If you are unsure what the swords and sorcery genre is, why not get a better idea by checking out volumes 1 - 3:

Also check out our dedicated facebook group: 

   

The contents of Volume One are:

THE MIRROR OF TORJAN SUL - Steve Lines

THE HORROR FROM THE STARS - Steve Dilks

TROLLS ARE DIFFERENT - Susan Murrie Macdonald

CHAIN OF COMMAND - Geoff Hart

DISRUPTION OF DESTINY - Gerri Leen

THE CITY OF SILENCE - Eric Ian Steele

RED - Chadwick Ginther

THE RECONSTRUCTED GOD - Adrian Cole

The cover and all the interior artwork is by Jim Pitts. 
 
amazon.co.uk

amazon.com


The contents of Volume 2 are:

The Essence of Dust by Mike Chinn

Highjacking the Lord of Light by Tais Teng

Out in the Wildlands by Martin Owton

Zale and Zedril by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Amulet and the Shadow by Steve Dilks

Antediluvia: Seasons of the World by Andrew Darlington

A Thousand Words for Death by Pedro Iniguez

Stone Snake by Dev Agarwal

Seven Thrones by Phil Emery

The Eater of Gods by Adrian Cole 

Illustrations by Jim Pitts.

amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

 


 
The contents of Volume 3 are:
 
Sorcerous Vengeance by Lorenzo D. Lopez 
 
Seal Snatchers of Jorsaleem by Tais Teng
 
When the Gods Send You Rats by Chadwick Ginther 
 
Mother's Bones by Carson Ray
 
In the Lair of the Snake-Witch by Darin Hlavaz
 
The Rains of Barofonn by Mike Chinn
 
Wardark by Craig Herbertson
 
The Foliage by Rab Foster 
 
In the Lair of the Moonmen by Jon Hansen 
 
Sailing on the Thieves' Tide by Adrian Cole
 
Illustrations by Jim Pitts. 

 

Thursday, 31 March 2022

An ambition achieved

Ever since getting this August Derleth anthology in 1966 with its fabulous front cover I have wanted to write a story about a Gorgon's head, but have never thought up an appropriate plot in which to use it - not till I recently completed a tale I have titled An Oddity

One ambition achieved, though it did take 56 years!

Saturday, 26 March 2022

My review of Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography by R. B. Russell to be on Big Hits Radio UK tomorrow

My review of Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography by R. B. Russell will be read out by Trevor Kennedy on his weekly Sunday show on Big Hits Radio UK tomorrow between 12 noon and 2 p.m.

The review will also be published in the next issue of Phantasmagoria magazine. 


 

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

New fantasy story finished

Well, that's a new ten thousand word fantasy story finished. 

Still undecided on the title. It's a choice between The Beautiful Homunculus or Ossani the Healer and the Beautiful Homunculus.  

Ossani the Healer is a rarity for me - a character who has appeared in more than one of my stories. He was previously in The Storyteller of Koss which will be published in Summer of Sci-Fi and Fantasy later this year.